American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Mount Everest, Kanshung Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2000

Mount Everest, Kanshung Face. Mrs. Santosh Yadav led an Indian expedition that largely repeated the line up Everest’s east face pioneered by a small British-American-Canadian team (Anderson-Webster-Teare-Venables) in the spring of 1988. Kusang Dorjee Sherpa and Sange Sherpa, both Indian citizens, one a mountaineering instructor and the other a member of the Indo-Tibet Border Police, on May 28 ascended the east face out of Tibet, a feature rarely attempted and even more rarely climbed successfully (of only six previous attempts starting in 1981, three had succeeded). Mrs. Yadav and the other female on her climbing team, Miss Nari Dhami, reached the exit at the top of their face route onto the 7900-meter South Col and thereby became the first women to gain the Col from this side. They themselves were unable to proceed up from the Col, where they had placed their highest camp, to the top with Kusang Dorjee, Sange and a third team member, Amar Prakash, because they discovered that their oxygen masks were not functioning properly.

The Indians had a lucky escape from an avalanche of large ice blocks that struck their camp on the east face 450 meters below the Col not very long after they had begun their ascent from there on the 27th. Two of the four tents in the camp were completely buried and the other two were swept 200 meters down the mountainside; “if we had left camp a little later, eleven people would have died,” Mrs. Yadav said.

After the three summitters returned to the Col late in the morning, all members then descended straight down, over and around the avalanche rubble, to the first camp they had pitched on the face, which was at 6450 meters, and arrived there after dark (at 8:30 p.m.) at the end of a very long day.

Elizabeth Hawley

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